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Santa Monica College STEM Students Headed for Harvard, MIT

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Lookout Staff

July 2, 2019 -- Two Santa Monica College (SMC) STEM students are headed to Harvard and MIT for the summer, where they'll take part in prestigious residential programs.

Mariamawit Jembere and Kelvin Noha Martinez will join a select group of national and international fellows selected by Station 1, a nonprofit organization that provides students with "socially-directed research and internship opportunities," school officials said.

Jembere will intern at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Data-Smart City Solutions, while Martinez will intern at the MIT spin-out startup company Superpedestrian.
Kelvin Noha Martinez

Martinez, who is studying Applied Mathematics at SMC, will interact with the embedded software team at Superpedestrian, a leading transportation robotics company that develops core technologies for micro-mobility, college officials said.

The team is creating models for "detecting and classifying shocks and high-G events" resulting from sharp turns and collisions.

Superpedestrian has invested more than three-and-a-half years in research and development to produce its Vehicle Intelligence Technology for electric bike drive systems.

Martinez came to SMC two years ago because he was unsure about his financial aid status and wanted to avoid massive student loans, SMC officials said.

He worked at Panda Express and says he "changed majors who knows how many times!”

“I feel proud of my accomplishment because it has been a difficult journey -- balancing school, work, and tending to my family’s needs," Martinez said. "The mark I want to leave for others is that anything is possible."

Martinez says his career goal is to “use [my] educational background in order to develop or assist in creating new technologies that would enhance research and new discoveries to live better lives.”

These include “machines that eradicate trash/waste, technology that can clean our oceans’ waters, or develop the next big rocket!”

All his dreams, said Martinez, “may sound crazy and impossible,” but “as I learned, dreams and goals start somewhere.”

Mariamawit Jembere

Jembere, who is a computer science major, moved from her native Ethiopia to attend a charter school for her senior year in high school, college officials said.

Jembere applied to SMC with an undecided major and "started taking diverse courses -- a little bit of everything,” she said. “The professors, counselors, and students I networked with were very influential.

"They helped me navigate different career options and inspired me to pursue my current major," Jembere said. "I now feel more confident and ready to take the next step."

At Harvard, she will work with Data-Smart City Solutions, "a civic data resource for an international audience of government officials and civic leaders interested in learning how to use data and technology to make local government more effective," officials said.

Santa Monica College’s STEM Science and Research Initiative is funded by a five-year $6 million U.S. Department of Education grant.

It collaborates and networks with programs and institutions such as Station 1, Base 11 and UCLA’s Undergraduate Research Center to provide research and internship opportunities to SMC STEM students

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